Sustaining Our World – 2017 Sustainability Report

Integrating Health & Safety
Into Every Process

Taking care of business means taking care of each other.

The production of our poultry, fresh meats and prepared foods plants is “people-centric.” While our facilities have some automation, most of our production is labor intensive. Team members in our processing plants use their hands every day — harvesting animals, cutting meat, packaging food and performing other manual tasks.

We employ nearly 500 health and safety team members across the company who are focused on safety training, safety audits, ergonomics, health care and more. We aspire to zero work-related injuries; and, in 2017, announced a goal to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by 15-percent year-over-year. In FY2017, we reduced our total recordable incident rate by 22-percent as compared to our FY2016 performance. Continuing to achieve this goal will build on a significant amount of progress that has been realized in recent years.

A Behavior-Based Approach

That progress has been the result of evolving our approach to health and safety from a compliance-based to a behavior-based one. Our health and safety strategy has changed to more closely track, measure and analyze team members’ behaviors and responses. When an incident occurs, we go straight to the source to collect data and to analyze the root cause of an incident. This allows us to make decisions based on actionable data to better reduce health and safety risk exposures that team members encounter daily. Once we better understand why an incident occurred, our health and safety team can create proactive solutions that prevent exposure to our team members. In this way, we are not looking at safety as an event that happens and to which we need to react, but rather, as part of the process in which we conduct our everyday operations.

Safety at Tyson Foods*

  • Total Recordable Incident Rate1
  • Days Away, Restricted and Transfer Rate2
  • Lost Time Incident Rate3
  • 1 Number of work-related injuries and illnesses per 100 team members.
  • 2 Number of work-related injuries and illnesses resulting in a team member missing work, having restricted work activity or being transferred from their regular work assignment per 100 team members.
  • 3 Number of work-related injury and illnesses that result in one or more days away from work per 100 team members.
  • * Data includes Cobb-Vantress U.S. facilities and excludes AdvancePierre Foods facilities.

Automation can be a solution to some safety challenges. We continue to look at ways to automate production processes that don’t take our team members out of the picture, but instead make their jobs easier and give them more quality control by minimizing repetitive physical motion through automated equipment. As an example, we’ve established a new automated process for sharpening knives, an important and frequent task at our plants since much of our products are cut meats or value-added prepared foods. New robotic knife sharpening machines reduce hand stress for team members and help them better sharpen knives by numerically grading the knife edge to indicate its sharpness.

Health and Safety Communication

Communication is critical to ensuring that health and safety changes filter across the enterprise. We leverage our data capabilities to communicate announcements across our facilities in real time so that our health and safety professionals know when to react, where to go and what to do. Health and safety governance processes are designed to align the executive team with what’s happening on the plant floor.

In FY2017, we committed to expanding our We Care safety communications program to all poultry plants by the end of FY2018. We are on track to fulfill this commitment. We Care is a worker safety initiative launched in 2015. Its expansion will include the creation of an executive safety council and a pilot project designed to improve plant safety communications, awareness and practices. The program includes a reminder to team members of the importance of promptly reporting all workplace injuries and illnesses.

As part of the We Care program, in FY2017 we also committed to pilot health care programs for occupational illness prevention. These health care services will be in addition to the company’s existing in-house occupational health services provided through the company’s nursing department. These pilots and programs have been initiated and we are currently evaluating their performance.

We remain focused on appropriate staffing to ensure safety, such as line speeds that allow team members to stop the line at any time for team member or food safety issues, and ensure that team members take regularly scheduled breaks. We also leverage the insights of the safety committees we have in place at all plants. The committees include management and hourly team members, representative of our workforce at each facility across job categories, gender and demographics. These team members are compensated for their time and free to participate under our non-retaliation policy. Reports from plant safety committees are made available to all hourly team members and shared with management to ensure enterprise-wide communication about new or emerging safety issues in our plants.

Despite our commitment to a strong safety culture, we lost two employees in FY2015 in work-related vehicle fatalities. There were no fatalities in FY2016, but in FY2017, there were two work-related vehicle fatalities. We were deeply saddened by the deaths of these employees, losses which impact family members, coworkers and the larger Tyson Foods family. These events only strengthen our commitment to implement the most robust and comprehensive safety processes possible, and to work to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Our Randall Road production facility in Springdale, Arkansas, reached a safety milestone in FY2017 of 15 million safe man hours without a lost time accident since 1999.